It all started in 2013, when Ahmed El-Hawary, a journalist at the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, began running workshops to teach youth journalistic skills in Cairo’s Ard El-Lewa district. Driven by the persistence of its participants, the workshops gradually developed into a news publication called Bashkatib, a channel to voice local issues and concerns often ignored by regional mainstream media.
El-Hawary’s project breathes a desire to boost the status of young people in their local communities. “The newspapers also give power to their voices. Journalists are valuable members of their communities; by giving youth the opportunity to identify as journalists, we raise their value within the community,” said El-Hawary in an interview with Egypt’s Daily News.
Today, the community media outlet has expanded, with the vision is to build a nation-wide network of outlets run by teenagers in marginalized areas of Egypt. Over a two-year period, the organizers offer basic and advanced training to youth groups, as well as smaller workshops and ongoing mentoring. “Bashkatib works with partner organizations in local areas to find participants, such as Khatwa Library in Dar el Salam, Future Association in Aswan, and Books and Beans in Mansoura,” Bashkatib’s Development Officer Amira Hanafi told Your Middle East. “We also go into local schools to present the project and community spaces to pass out flyers”.